At the July
agenda review and action sessions, the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of
School Commissioners reviewed several important presentations regarding the
future of IPS schools and services to our students and



The goal of our
Academics Division is to ensure 100 percent of our graduating seniors have an
action plan which leaves them employed at a livable wage, enrolled in a college
or vocational program or enlisted in the military. To track the progress of
this strategic goal, a post-secondary plan survey was distributed to students.
IPS Director of Career and Technical Education Ben Carter presented the results
of this survey to the Board. Of the 863 graduating students surveyed, 99 percent
completed the survey stating they had an action plan in place. Twenty-two of
those students requested additional supports for job searches, financial aid
applications, mentoring or other guidance. The majority of our students
indicated they had plans to continue on to higher education, with Ivy Tech
being the most common educational opportunity.


The IPS Career
Technology Center had a successful year, with 108 students receiving
professional certification, 204 dual credit courses completed and 63 students
completing internships. Guidance counselors and graduation coaches begin
working with students in the 9th grade to develop their
post-secondary plans, and future career planning courses are in the works for
our youngest high school students. Next steps include continued integration of
post-secondary efforts through college and career planning program Naviance,
providing targeted supports (including job fairs) based on survey results and
following up with recent grads in the fall to confirm the success of their
post-secondary plans. The full report from our Academics Division can be found here.




Superintendent for Academics Dr. Wanda H. Legrand and Enrollment and Options
Officer Greg Newlin updated Commissioners on the administration’s efforts to
evaluate and recommend new grade configurations. IPS Strategic Plan 2015 item 1.6 states “IPS will create and
implement a comprehensive strategic grade configuration plan to improve student
achievement by 2017, based upon district data.” This item is in direct
alignment with the directive IPS leadership received from the Board to
transition away from the community school model. This is a data-driven
directive, as analysis shows the community high school model is not conducive
to optimal student outcomes in our district.


community input was gathered this summer through Community Town Hall Meetings,
student focus groups and online grade configuration surveys. Seventy percent of
students surveyed indicated they liked the idea of true middle schools (Grades
6-8 or Grades 7 and 8), while 80 percent of students surveyed indicated they
liked the idea of high school academies. High school academies would ensure
instructional or career-focused options at every high school, providing choice
opportunities for all high school scholars. These academies would include
targeted options such as a teacher cadet program or partnerships with local
businesses to enhance apprenticeships for students. Main themes from the
community town hall meetings included increasing rigor through implementation
of middle school-specific programming and improving high school achievement.


IPS is
committed to engaging the school community in the next steps for our secondary
schools, as it is vital to invite our school community members to become part
of the conversation. As district leaders investigate opportunities to expand
middle grade offerings, some of our high schools may be impacted by the shift
in grade configurations. School community meetings will take place in early
August at the following schools:

  • Northwest Community High
    School: 6 p.m., August 8.
  • George Washington Community
    High School: 6 p.m., August 9.
  • John Marshall Community High
    School: 6 p.m., August 10.
  • Broad Ripple Magnet High
    School for the Arts and Humanities: 6 p.m., August 11.


additional feedback is gathered from families in person and through online
surveys, IPS leadership expects to make grade configuration recommendations to
Commissioners in August. The entire grade configuration presentation can be
found here.




Officer David Rosenberg shared the results of a study on a proposed change to
our district’s transportation schedule. IPS Strategic Plan 2015 item 2.8 states
“IPS will maximize resources to increase efficiency while maintaining high
quality service to schools by 2018, as measured by district data.”
Refining our transportation schedule is a targeted effort to reduce operational
costs while improving service to students and families. Feedback from families
regarding transportation and school start times was gathered at our Community
Town Hall Meetings earlier this summer to inform future recommendations.


According to
the study, the ideal three-tiered schedule would include the following school
start and end times:

  • 8 secondary schools 7:20 a.m.
    to 2:20 p.m.
  • 22 K-8 schools 8:15 a.m. to 3:15
  • 30 K-8 schools 9:05 a.m. to 3:40


This schedule
would eliminate the need for 106 buses, and create a potential annual savings
of $7 million, allowing the district to redirect resources into strategic
initiatives including greater pay to retain our most talented and dedicated
transportation staff members. More community engagement is needed to assess the
impact on our schools and families before a recommendation is finalized.
Potential changes through grade reconfiguration will also factor into the final
recommendation for a transportation schedule. Rosenberg also noted that we are
proud to roll out 100 propane-fueled buses this year to increase efficiency,
and we look forward to completing our fleet with 200 additional buses for the
2017-2018 school year. The entire transportation presentation can be found here.



Studies Curriculum

reviewed a presentation from Visiting International Faculty outlining an
exciting new curriculum model being implemented in three neighborhood schools.
Elder W. Diggs School 42, George W. Julian School 57 and George Buck School 94
will initiate the Global School model this fall. Global Schools utilize specialized
professional development and curriculum tools to emphasize global competence in
the classroom.


inquiry-based learning model infuses global themes into everyday instruction.
An online learning platform provides school staff 24-hour access to resources
including professional development modules and school implementation analytics.
Administrators across our district received informational sessions on Global
Schools, and three principals chose to pilot the program in IPS.


“I think we can
all agree as a society how important it is for our students to be aware that
they are global citizens,” said George Julian Principal Debra Ashley.



Promise Neighborhood Initiative

voted to accept the adoption of a Memorandum of Understanding with the IndyEast
Promise Neighborhood Initiative. This partnership between IPS and the John
Boner Neighborhood Center, United Way of Central Indiana, the City of
Indianapolis and other local organizations will support the efforts of the
USDOE-funded Promise Zone initiative.


The overall
goals of the initiative are to improve education, increase availability of
affordable housing, create jobs, increase safety and support economic
development in our community. The initiative will support targeted efforts in
the Near Eastside and Martindale-Brightwood communities. District schools James
Russell Lowell School 51, Brookside School 54 and Thomas D. Gregg School 15 are
all located within this zone.


IPS is
committed to collaborating with our strong community partners to create
consistent growth in opportunities for our students and school communities. You
can read the agreement in its entirety here.


Network School Report

part of their Innovation Network agreements, each innovation school’s
leadership team must provide public presentations twice a year. The goal
of this agreement is to maintain transparency regarding the progress of our
innovation schools for the Board, school staff, families and supporters. At the
July Action Session, representatives from Charter Schools USA (CSUSA) shared a
progress update on Emma Donnan Elementary


Initial fall
assessments indicated the average student was 1 to 2 grade levels behind in
math and ELA. At the end of spring, the average student was 1 year behind,
marking a positive trend with additional opportunity for growth. Increasing
trends were noted across most grade levels for both math and ELA, but school
leaders noted the growth was not as significant as initially hoped. Early
interventions are in place to support struggling students, including additional
ELA instructional time and focus plans to ensure mastery of vital skills. Current
enrollment at Emma Donnan for the 2016-2017 school year is 221 students, with school
leaders anticipating additional scholars. The entire Emma Donnan report can be
found here.